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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Feb;77(2):162-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2012.10.010. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

Functional benefits of sequential bilateral cochlear implantation in children with long inter-stage interval between two implants.

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Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, College of Medicine, Dong-A University, Busan, Republic of Korea.



Older children are increasingly deriving binaural benefits from sequential bilateral cochlear implantation, and this procedure should be considered by experienced cochlear implant centers. This study aimed to identify the influence of a long inter-stage interval between two implants in older children. Speech perception and everyday listening performance were investigated and analyzed according to the length of the inter-stage interval.


Forty-two children who received sequential bilateral cochlear implantation participated in this study. Their average ages at the first and second implantation were 4.2 and 9.7 years, respectively. All subjects acquired excellent speech performance from their first implant, and the mean inter-stage interval was 5.5 years. Speech perception in quiet was assessed by formal speech measures, and postoperative performance using the second implant only was compared with the preoperative performance. Speech perception in noise test was administered using three noise directions with noise (+10 dB signal-to-noise ratio) from front and 90° to each side, and the change in performance using the first implant only and both implants were analyzed across the three noise directions. Subjects were divided into three groups according to their inter-stage interval (group I, 3-4.9 years; group II, 5-6.9 years; and group III, 7-9.9 years), and the test results were compared between the groups. Functional hearing benefits in daily life were measured by a questionnaire before and after bilateral cochlear implantation.


The speech perception abilities in quiet using the second implant only improved quickly and were similar to those using the first implant only within 1 year after the second implantation. The scores for the monosyllabic word test (phoneme: p=0.052; word: p=0.125) and common phrases sentence test (p=0.062) 6 month after the second implantation, and the Categories of Auditory Performance score (p=1.000) 1 year after the second implantation using the second implant only did not differ significantly from those using the first implant only. Speech perception was significantly better using both implants than using the first implant in all three noise conditions (speech and noise in front: p=0.004; speech in front and noise to the first implant: p=0.003; speech in front and noise to the second implant: p<0.001), and the effect of noise direction was negligibly small. No salient influence of inter-stage interval was observed in both quiet and noise tests. The second and third groups with longer inter-stage intervals (>5 years) achieved performance close to the level of the first group with a shorter interval. These subjects obtained significantly better functional hearing benefits in the everyday environment with bilateral implants compared with the first implant (p=0.018).


The subjects in this study showed rapid postoperative progression within 6 months after the second implantation, and more listening benefits in noise and daily life with bilateral implants. This group of older children, who were good performers with the first implant, developed auditory perceptual competence in the second ear and achieved functional binaural benefits with their two implants. Sequential bilateral cochlear implantation should be recommended to this group of older children despite a long inter-stage interval between two implants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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